Arizona vs. Texas A&M Pick NCAA Basketball – December 17th

Friday is/was such a desolate slate of college hoops action there really wasn’t a single game on the schedule I had anything interesting to write about, let alone a strong feeling from a wagering perspective.  So rather than shove a Texas Arlington vs. Bradley matchup down your throat, or all play the “what will happen in garbage time, hope they don’t clear the bench too early/late” on the Florida Atlantic at Miami game, I thought it wise to start focusing on tomorrow instead and give you an extra pick.

This one is an early game, and it’s a game I had circled this morning waiting for the line, anticipating it would fall about where it did, and waiting to pounce once it was official.

So, I’ll have plenty more to say tomorrow morning about Kentucky vs. North Carolina, as well as the awesome doubleheader in Indianapolis with all four Hoosier State powers squaring off; Purdue vs. Notre Dame and Indiana vs. Butler – but for now, let’s tackle an early noon tipoff on a neutral floor in Houston, Texas.

Today’s Free Pick:

Arizona Wildcats vs. Texas A&M Aggies -2

I wrote before that Arizona is ripe for the picking.  In the same column I picked them (somewhat conflictingly I realize, but as I stated then, the pick was more a fade on the lousiness of the Missouri Tigers than the quality of Arizona) This team is STILL ripe for the picking, and today is the day they pay their comeuppance.

Texas A&M isn’t great, but they are at least rated appropriately.  Arizona is treading on years of good will and their name and the rep of Sean Miller.  This year’s squad COULD have been very good, but NONE of the very good players that were built into their lofty preseason rating are actually playing for Arizona at the moment.

This a true neutral court game, but the geography favors the Aggies.  The overall team quality might favor A&M as well.  A&M has two losses, but the two-point loss to USC looks a whole lot better a month later and the seven-point loss to UCLA is certainly not embarrassing.  The win over Virginia Tech is solid, even if the rest of the schedule is uncomfortably blank.

Arizona’s resume is similar; quality loss to Gonzaga, reasonable loss to Butler, a decent win over Michigan State and a whole lot of other slop.  Their resumes are frankly nearly identical, today is a neutral court game, so the near even line makes sense.  My heavy lean to A&M is more from just WATCHING Arizona a few times and seeing the massive offensive holes in this basketball team and the odd personnel shortages they are experiencing.  This is one of the thinnest teams in the Sean Miller era, and it is all due to suspensions, overseas defections and a rash of injuries.

Through no fault of Miller’s this just ISNT a Top 25 team right now, despite the ranking to the contrary.

Look for Texas A&M to expose them today in Houston and pick up a nice resume win for them and the much-maligned SEC.  The Aggies have nice balance with Tyler Davis, DJ Hogg, and Admon Gilder sharing the scoring load to lead the five Aggies averaging double digits.  They have more scoring options and a better flow offensively, and I think they will be able to outscore Arizona, and score much more easily, throughout the game.

Today’s Free Pick:  Texas A&M Aggies -2

Chris Scheeren / Author